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2.1 Listening recommendations for AVR units.

H-RYCAJ

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I was looking for stereo receivers in the < 500$ mark with bass management. The only thing I could find was the pioneer SX-30
https://intl.pioneer-audiovisual.com/products/2ch_components/sx-s30/ .Unfortunately, it's priced north of CAD 600.

I think this is the cheapest "Stereo Unit" with bass management. It's also one of the most feature-rich units I have seen. It would be nice if it included another set of speaker terminals for A/B listening.

Since I am still on the hunt for a unit I have concluded that an AVR unit is the way to go since I do need digital inputs. Could anyone make a recommendation for AVR in the < 500$ mark that is half decent for listening to music? I have also noticed many AV units can bi-amp using the rear terminals as L/R mains.

I have been browsing the used market.

My current setup is Pi streamer > topping e30dac > onkyo 8020 > kef 150 > psw11 sub.

When I turn up the bass on the Onkyo unit it increases bass coming from the speakers and the sub. It gets annoying... I want to set an 80hz filter and set it and forget it.
 

swampfire

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Looking for an “obsolete” multichannel AVR is a good plan. I have a friend who likes NAD. I just gave a nice Pioneer Elite AVR to a friend. If you find a Pioneer, Yamaha or NAD AVR with the features you need, I’d say go for it. It may be larger than an equivalent class D stereo integrated amp, but it’ll sound just as good.
 

Ataraxia

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I went through this during my initial foray into audio few years ago. Yes true bass management helps a lot which as you've found is most easily implemented with an AVR from my experience. There are other options to be clear but usually require more money, separate components, knowledge.

The AVR market is horrible right now to get exactly what you want. It seems $3-$400 gets you an entry level AVR which will be OK, but if you can stretch the budget without debt I'd look around at used.

I'd look at the Yamahas in that range here on A4L.



 
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H-RYCAJ

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Thank you for the replies. I am coming off an smsl 100, smsl sa300, and a sony str-dn1000 (2010 model). I found with the AVR, when I cranked up the volume, the distortion was ridiculous. It sounded like l was listening to music underwater. I usually listen to low - mid-volume. The smaller class d amps were actually significantly better but just too much bass. My current Onkyo 8020 stereo receiver is the sweet spot. Even when I crank up the volume to max, the sub out is noticeably quieter than the SMSL units. At least that's what I perceive. Perhaps there is less distortion? It's just not as boomy. Im not going to pretend I am an audiophile, just an enthusiast. I want to refine my setup more for my particular ears. Are there any noticeable differences between Yamaha, Pioneer, Sony, Onkyo, any big brands? Or does it come down to speculation until measured?
 

Ataraxia

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Yes those SMSL even though they have sub out don't do bass management properly. I know they do well without sub though, only 2.0. The Sony is too old IMO to figure out. You should not have the same distortion issue with a newer AVR.

I think you'll be happy with a Yamaha, I also like Yamaha if going used personally. I'd stick to Yamaha Denon, above reply had good luck with Pioneer. They may or may not sound different to you.

Other brands could be just fine too though, some last gen will be great too. I like the Yamahas I listed, but no reason you can't try others. You'll have tons of features with those Yamahas. Been running my KEF R3's with a Yamaha A2080 AVR, and sometimes my Q150's, LS50 Metas. Excellent pairing IMO.
 
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H-RYCAJ

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Yes those SMSL even though they have sub out don't do bass management properly. I know they do well without sub though, only 2.0. The Sony is too old IMO to figure out. You should not have the same distortion issue with a newer AVR.

I think you'll be happy with a Yamaha, I also like Yamaha if going used personally. I'd stick to Yamaha Denon, above reply had good luck with Pioneer. They may or may not sound different to you.

Other brands could be just fine too though, some last gen will be great too. I like the Yamahas I listed, but no reason you can't try others. You'll have tons of features with those Yamahas. Been running my KEF R3's with a Yamaha A2080 AVR, and sometimes my Q150's, LS50 Metas. Excellent pairing IMO.
Thanks for the reply. Is the cost of adding a filter that expensive? The price of Yamaha's n603 or n803 is comparable to the RX-V4A.
 

Ataraxia

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Thanks for the reply. Is the cost of adding a filter that expensive? The price of Yamaha's n603 or n803 is comparable to the RX-V4A.

You bet, I'm not sure what the cheapest option is but miniDSP has some units like this


But then you're looking at adding an amp too, I'm not sure if your SMSL has analog inputs if it does it would work (edit, you could use the n603/803 as the amp). Look at the manual. You might use this instead of new AVR. There are much more expensive options that do work. This is kind of a rabbit hole where the AVR just makes it simple.

N803 has YPAO with RSC a room correction system that works with your speakers and sub. I looked at the manual and funny it does not specify what the subwoofer crossover is or does after running YPAO, and does not look like it has an the option for manually setting up the crossover like it does on the AVR's. In other words, it may do proper bass management, with a standard 80hz crossover. In that case no filter would be needed.

On the AVR's you run YPAO if desired then select 40-60-80-100 etc, cross to the sub, and then those freqs don't go to the mains, true bass management.

The AVR is an easy way to bass manage properly. If you want a 2.1 channel music bass managed without an AVR which I understand, I'd be looking at miniDSP options and like I mentioned I'm not sure what the lowest cost option is.

I am looking at getting miniDSP but my setup would look like using this:


And buying a separate power amp.
 
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Ataraxia

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Edit, now that I look at the prices I'm not sure you meant r803.. Maybe 303. In That case, that do not have room correction that I was mentioning above.
 
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RC231

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You can find used denon x3300 and x3400 in that range with audessy xt32. I have been shopping for a similar application and am leaning that direction even though they don't measure as well as the newer 3600/3700
 

Timcognito

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If really looking L/R/Bass on the cheap check out this <$200. LFE out and good number of inputs, measures very well. And a remote.
 
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H-RYCAJ

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If really looking L/R/Bass on the cheap check out this <$200. LFE out and good number of inputs, measures very well. And a remote.
I came from the SMSL sa100/300. The units don't have bass management. I can't set a cut-off frequency for the speakers. Heck, I can't even do that with my current Onkyo 8020's. This feature is only on AVR units or stereo units north of 600$.
 
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H-RYCAJ

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You can find used denon x3300 and x3400 in that range with audessy xt32. I have been shopping for a similar application and am leaning that direction even though they don't measure as well as the newer 3600/3700
Any units posted on the used market get snagged up within hours. It seems there is a global shortage, and even the used market is hot.
 

Ataraxia

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How many digital inputs do you need? Check this out. It has true high pass but the only option is 90 HZ.

 

escape2

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I came from the SMSL sa100/300. The units don't have bass management. I can't set a cut-off frequency for the speakers. Heck, I can't even do that with my current Onkyo 8020's. This feature is only on AVR units or stereo units north of 600$.
How about keeping your current setup and just adding a simple high pass filter to remove bass from your speakers?

 

FrantzM

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You can find used denon x3300 and x3400 in that range with audessy xt32. I have been shopping for a similar application and am leaning that direction even though they don't measure as well as the newer 3600/3700
+1
 
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H-RYCAJ

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I am a big fan of the used market. Unfortunately, depending on where you are the used market is hit or miss. There is a lot of price gouging with many products due to the strain covid has placed. In my area, a used x3000 is going for 450$.
 
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H-RYCAJ

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How many digital inputs do you need? Check this out. It has true high pass but the only option is 90 HZ.

I am leaning towards the Yamaha RX V4A. It's the only receiver I can find in stock with all the bells and whistles, plus a few I don't care for but may end up using down the road. Curious how the bi-amp works with this receiver and if it's even worth it. The used market is a dumpster fire of 6-10-year-old units selling for almost new prices, sans warranty. I would have to pay shipping and duties on the Emotiva Unit. 15% taxes on top of the unit price is no joke.
 

raindance

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Marantz NR series from Accessories4less would be my recommendation.
 

Ataraxia

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I am leaning towards the Yamaha RX V4A. It's the only receiver I can find in stock with all the bells and whistles, plus a few I don't care for but may end up using down the road. Curious how the bi-amp works with this receiver and if it's even worth it. The used market is a dumpster fire of 6-10-year-old units selling for almost new prices, sans warranty. I would have to pay shipping and duties on the Emotiva Unit. 15% taxes on top of the unit price is no joke.

Got it about Emotiva. I do recommend the Yamaha as per my first post. I've owned the A2080 running my R3's and sub(s) for a few years and it's been great. I always run YPAO it really cleans up the imaging for me. It just so happens I did recently bi-amp my R3's from the A2080 a few weeks ago. So this is highly controversial if it improves the sound. I could not figure out how the amp section works internally so I don't know how true the bi-amp is.

Even though I bi-amped it per manual it is still using the same power supply so it would not be as good as having two separate amps with two separate power supplies. I do believe it made a difference in mids and trebles. You have to just try it with your speakers for yourself.
 
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